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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
ABOUT SWIMS

1. What is the purpose of SWIMS?

The Solid Waste Information Management System (SWIMS) was developed by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works to provide a one-stop Internet portal for the public and solid waste industry to access information about solid waste facilities, waste disposal data, and methane producing sites in Los Angeles County.

SWIMS is a tool through which information about solid waste management activities in the County is made readily available to the public, empowering people to make environmentally sustainable choices in managing waste.

2. Why does Public Works collect disposal information?

The California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 (AB 939, as amended) mandates local governments to prepare and implement plans to achieve 50 percent waste reduction by year 2000 and thereafter (Section 41780 of Public Resources Code). Subsequently, the former California Integrated Waste Management Board (now CalRecycle) established the Disposal Reporting System to capture the amount of disposal from each jurisdiction and determine if it has met the AB 939 diversion goals (Title 14 Sections 18800-1814.11 of California Code of Regulations).

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works is the local agency responsible for compiling disposal information for the County of Los Angeles, from haulers and solid waste facility operators within the County. Public Works is also responsible for submitting the data to CalRecycle's Disposal Reporting System, and making the information available to local governments.

3. What is the disposal information in SWIMS used for?

Local governments use the information to evaluate the effectiveness of their diversion programs and efforts, and identify disposal trends to plan for the future of solid waste management. The solid waste industry uses the information to conduct market research and improve waste collection and processing services. Applicants of land use development projects have also found the information helpful in determining their projects' impacts on solid waste capacities.

SWIMS also provides opportunities for the public to gain knowledge and awareness about solid waste management activities impacting their communities and encourages the public to participate in building sustainable communities.

4. How often is SWIMS updated?

Information such as change in ownership and contacts for solid waste facilities is routinely updated by the SWIMS Administrator. Waste disposal data and origin information are updated by solid waste facility operators and waste haulers when the information becomes available, and no later than the following schedule.

 Survey Period  Submittal Deadline
 First quarter  June 15
 Second quarter  September 15
 Third quarter  December 15
 Fourth quarter  March 15 of the following year

5. Can I be notified when SWIMS waste disposal data is updated?

Yes. Please send your request through Contact Us or simply contact the SWIMS Administrator at swims@dpw.lacounty.gov or 1-(888)-CLEANLA or 1-(888)-253-2652.
 
ABOUT SOLID WASTE

1. What is solid waste?

Solid waste is more commonly referred to as trash or garbage, and consists of everyday discards such as clothing, packaging, food scraps, home appliances, old furniture, soiled paper products, and other non-recyclables.

For legal definitions of solid waste, visit the following links.
Title 40 Part 261.2 of Code of Federal Regulations
Section 40191 of California Public Resources Code
Section 20.56.060 of the Los Angeles County Code

2. Where does our solid waste go?

In Los Angeles County, solid waste is collected at the curb by waste haulers, and typically follows one of the paths shown below.

Where Solid Waste Go

3. How much solid waste is generated in Los Angeles County?

According to data collected in SWIMS, residents and businesses in Los Angeles County disposed of about 9 million tons of municipal solid waste, or 4.7 pounds per person per day in 2012. Using a Countywide diversion rate of 60 percent, residents and businesses of Los Angeles County generated about 21.5 million tons of municipal solid waste, or an average of 58,987 tons per day.

Source: 2012 Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan Annual Report

4. How much solid waste is diverted in Los Angeles County?

The County, consisting of 88 cities and unincorporated communities, achieved an estimated diversion rate of 60 percent in 2012. In other words, 60 percent of solid waste generated in the County was reused, recycled, or diverted from landfills and transformation facilities.

Source: 2012 Countywide Integrated Waste Management Plan Annual Report

5. How much green waste is used as alternative daily cover at landfills in Los Angeles County?

During the first three quarters of 2013, landfills in Los Angeles County received approximately 370,000 tons of green waste, most of which was used on site as alternative daily cover, beneficial use, and landscaping. About 50 percent of the green waste was accepted at the Puente Hills Landfill, which closed on October 31, 2013. For more information, please contact Russell Bukoff at (626) 458-2186 or rbukoff@dpw.lacounty.gov.
 
COMMERCIAL TRASH COLLECTION IN COUNTY UNINCORPORATED AREAS

1. As a business owner or anyone subscribing to dumpster or roll-off service, what do I need to know about Los Angeles County's Commercial Waste Franchise System?

Click here for questions frequently asked by businesses operating in the County unincorporated areas.

2. As a waste hauler, what do I need to know about Los Angeles County's Commercial Waste Franchise System?

Click here for questions frequently asked by waste haulers operating in the County unincorporated areas.
 
RESIDENTIAL TRASH COLLECTION IN COUNTY UNINCORPORATED AREAS

1. As a resident of one of the many unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, how do I benefit from the County's Residential Waste Franchise System?

Click here for questions frequently asked by residents of unincorporated areas and the benefits of the County’s franchise system. The Spanish version is available here.

2. As a resident of one of the Garbage Disposal Districts of Los Angeles County, how do I benefit from the County’s waste collection system?

Click here for questions frequently asked by residents of Garbage Disposal Districts and the benefits of the County’s waste collection system. The Spanish version is available here.
 
RECYCLING PROGRAMS AND RESOURCES

1. What can I do to recycle more and reduce waste?

Visit Public Works' www.CleanLA.com/Rethinkla for programs and resources.

2. Where can I find a recycling center?

Please visit the County’s Smart Business Recycling web site at http://dpw.lacounty.gov/epd/brtap/recyclingsite/index.cfm to locate the nearest recycling center.
 
DISPOSAL REPORTS

1. How can I generate disposal reports?

 
 
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